ARCHIVED – Notice – Update: Priority Processing Measures in Haiti (March 19, 2010)

N.B.: Contact information that is inaccurate or no longer in use has been removed from this page.

March 19, 2010 —The January 12 earthquake in Haiti caused significant damage to the Embassy of Canada in Port-au-Prince, which limited visa and immigration services for the past month. The government’s first priority has been to provide consular assistance and help evacuate Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Over 1,600 temporary resident visas have been issued, the majority to people accompanying Canadian citizens being evacuated from Haiti.

In addition, Citizenship and Immigration Canada assisted in the evacuation of more than 200 Haitian children destined to their adoptive Canadian parents.

CIC has set up a unit in Ottawa which is supporting CIC’s office in Haiti by identifying and expediting existing adoption and family class sponsorship applications. The office in Ottawa has responsibility for processing these applications until Port-au-Prince resumes normal operations. As of March 12, a total of 205 permanent resident visas have been issued. More visas will be issued in the coming weeks and months.

Priority processing is being given to family class applications for people who self-identify as having been seriously and directly affected by the earthquake.

All applicants must continue to meet all standard admissibility requirements, including security and medical screening. CIC is working closely with its partners to expedite applications while respecting the Government of Canada’s commitment to protect the safety, security and health of Canadians.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents can, if they qualify, help family in Haiti by submitting a sponsorship application to CPC–Mississauga here in Canada. Priority processing is also available for new and existing applications for permanent residence in Canada in the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class and for Protected Persons, including those family members directly and significantly affected by this disaster.

Please advise your family members in Haiti that they should not approach the Embassy in Port-au-Prince until they are called to do so. By respecting this, it will help everyone as Embassy staff would be able to focus on processing applications from persons with qualified sponsors.

Existing sponsorship applications

N.B.: This information is no longer accurate.

If you had a family class sponsorship application already in process before the earthquake, you should ask your sponsor in Canada to contact CIC if they haven’t already done so. Sponsors and applicants presently in Canada should notify the CIC Call Centre (in Canada only, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday) or by email to identify your existing applications, if you or the family you sponsored have been significantly and adversely affected.

New sponsorship applications

New sponsorship applications should be started in Canada by the sponsor. Once you have completed the sponsorship application, be sure to write “Haiti” prominently on the mailing envelope to receive priority handling. A sponsor is responsible for demonstrating that his or her family member is significantly and adversely affected by the situation.

Applicants should not to go the Embassy of Canada unless instructed

If you have already applied, you should not go the Embassy of Canada in Port-au-Prince unless you have been specifically instructed to do so by CIC officials. Showing up at the Embassy will not cause your application to be expedited.

Medical examinations

Please note that only sponsored spouses, partners and dependent children of Canadian citizens and permanent residents may take their medical exams when submitting an application for permanent residence.

All others should only schedule a medical examination when instructed to do so by CIC officials. If you take your medical examination before receiving instructions from CIC officials, you will have to take another medical examination at your own expense.

Update on special immigration measures

  • On January 15, CIC announced that Canada was temporarily suspending the visa requirement for aid workers and evacuees from Haiti transiting through Canadian airports. This measure ended on March 15. The final number of non-commercial aircraft that came under this measure is:
    • A total of 82 non-commercial aircraft have transited Gander for technical stops and/or refuelling in response to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti.
    • Of the 82 non-commercial aircraft, 17 aircraft carried 146 passengers that would normally require transit visas and who, therefore, benefitted from the public policy.
  • CIC has participated in a number of information sessions for the Haitian community in Montréal, Toronto, Welland, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Vancouver to provide information on the special immigration measures and on how to sponsor immediate family members who were directly and seriously affected by the earthquake in Haiti.
    • Over 3,200 people have attended the information sessions in Montréal.
    • 22 people attended the London information session on March 13.
    • 83 people attended the Windsor information session on March 12.
    • 65 people attended the Hamilton information session on March 4.
    • About 80 people attended the Welland information session on February 16.
    • Approximately 450 people attended the Ottawa information session on February 10.
    • About 45 people attended the information session in Vancouver on February 5.
    • About 215 people attended Toronto area information sessions on January 29 and February 5.


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